The Syrian army waged a costly campaign to seize the coastal province of Latakia, leaving dozens killed. Army denies claims that forces have withdrawn
Bashar Assad is the current president of Syria as well as the Regional Secretary of the country's Ba'ath Party.
The son of late Syrian president Hafez Assad, Bashar Assad was chosen by his father as successor only after the untimely death of his older brother, Bassel. At the time, Bashar Assad was completing his ophthalmology training in London, and his father was worried that his son's lack of experience in state affairs would eventually spell the end of the Ba'ath party's 30-year reign in Syria.
Bashar, who is also a colonel in the Syrian military, assumed into the role of president in June 2000. One of his first acts as president was to release dozens of political prisoners from Syrian jails, a move that many hoped would be only the first in a series of actions that would lead Syria closer to reform and perhaps toward better relations with the West. A year later, however, Syrian security forces resumed a crackdown on political dissent inside the country.
Regarding his views on Israel, immediately upon entering office Assad stated his support for a Hezbollah presence on Israel's border with Lebanon, repeated his calls for an unconditional Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, and expressed his support for the Palestinian use of violence against Israel.
Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Assad regime was accused by the United States of allowing Jihadist fighters to enter Iraq through Syria. Assad also ignored repeated calls by Washington to end support for Hezbollah, and prevent Palestinian terror groups from operating on Syrian territory. All this, combined with his alliance with Iran, signaled swiftly deteriorating Syrian-U.S. relations.
The assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, for which Syria was largely blamed, was the final straw that prompted Washington to pull its ambassador from Damascus.
Assad denied that Syria had been involved in the assassination, but a wave of Lebanese hostility sparked by the assassination of the much-loved former leader added to pressure on Syria to pull its troops from Lebanon after almost 30 years.
Despite the removal of troops, however, the Assad regime continues to play a role in Lebanese affairs, primarily through the continued support for Hezbollah, which Israel alleges is receiving arms from Damascus. Following the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, Assad hailed the Shi'ite group's “victory” and condemned other Arab leaders for not supporting the militant organization against Israel.
Despite initial predictions that the politically inexperienced Assad would struggle to maintain a grip on power, the opposite appears to be true. Nonetheless, some pundits have speculated that Assad is merely a figurehead for the Ba'ath regime, and that Syrian policies are actually formed by others.
Bashar Assad is married to Asma Assad, a British-born Sunni Muslim from London, where the two met and she was raised. They have three children, the oldest named for his grandfather, Hafez.
As part of a campaign to take back Syria, Assad's airstrikes have killed 188 people in two weeks. Lacking resources and equipment, medics have had to resort to desperate measures
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-linked war monitor, confirmed that al-Bani was taken and that troops are marching toward the hill
Sanctions could spark conflict with U.S.-backed Kurdish-led SDF over oil wells in the East
The opposition accuses Assad of withholding services from districts where the rebellion against him flared
No free gifts from Moscow: Russian aid in retrieving missing Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel embarrassed Syria, so now Putin is pushing for a gesture to appease Assad
The civil war lessened the Assad regime’s grip on northeastern Syria, allowing Kurdish culture to be seen and heard again. Locals worry that recent events will force it underground once more
Bashar Assad is the last man standing among a crop of Middle Eastern despots, and he now faces a multitude of challenges
As Assad consolidates power, Israel's prime minister is basking in plaudits for his 'prescient' strategy on Syria. But Netanyahu has been played - exposing Israel to potentially disastrous consequences
If Netanyahu has one valid claim to remaining in office, it’s his Syria policy and the fact he was one of the first world leaders to recognize the threat of ISIS
The escalation is part of an attempt by the Syrian government to take back Syria's northwest, the last major foothold of insurgents
As the Syrian crisis enters its ninth year, the grievances that caused the initial outbreak of mass protests — corruption, political repression and inequality — have only gotten worse
On Friday and Saturday, airstrikes on rebel-held areas in the northwest killed 15 people including four children and injured 25 others the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said
Russian reports say Putin has instructed withdrawal of forces, besides aircraft ■ Israel hopes move will pressure Iran to remove its forces as well, but Tehran has not signaled any such development
The Iranian and Syrian military chiefs were speaking after a meeting in Damascus that also included their Iraqi counterpart
Assad says he's fighting four wars: the military conflict, economic 'siege', a struggle against corruption and a battle on social media where he said Syria's enemies were waging a propaganda campaign
In a 3-part video analysis, Haaretz's military correspondent explains why Assad is not interested in a direct confrontation with Israel, even to stop Israeli airstrikes
Tensions mount between Al-Qaida-linked militants and Syrian forces in Idlib, threatening to unravel a truce put together by Turkey and Russia last September
Deraa was where peaceful protests against 40 years of autocratic Assad family rule began in 2011, and were met by deadly force, before spreading across the country
Efforts to prosecute members of President Bashar al-Assad's government have repeatedly failed, as Syria is not a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
The Syrian conflict has triggered Israel's primal fear: the threat of an entrenched Iranian presence on its borders. If a resurgent, unreliable Russia doesn't step in, then Assad and his army will be Israel's first targets
Eight years into Syria's Civil War, Russia is the big victor in Syria and will remain for a long time to come
Global chemical weapons watchdog report says it found 'reasonable grounds' that chlorine was used in the 2018 strike that killed over 40 people
Everything you need to know about Bashar Assad
The attack on April 7, 2018, killed dozens of civilians and prompted air strikes against the Syrian government by Britain, France and the United States
Syrian president and Iran's supreme leader agreed to 'continue cooperation at all levels,' Syrian state TV says
The accusation of 'racism' is a crude way to discredit people like me who, against mainstream Western opinion, believe the Syrian opposition groups are worse than the Assad tyranny
Iranian officials have threatened to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to strangle Tehran’s oil exports
Mohammed Zarif says Israeli 'adventurism' could spark military conflict
Syrian president makes address targeting Kurdish fighters, telling them that 'Americans will put you in their pockets so you can be tools in the barter'